• Tue. Mar 2nd, 2021

‘Exasperated’ Matt Hancock clashes with Piers Morgan over PPE contract


Feb 23, 2021

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An ‘exasperated’ Matt Hancock sighed loudly live on breakfast TV as he was grilled over breaking the law on PPE contracts.

During heated scenes on Good Morning Britain, a visibly riled Health Secretary told Piers Morgan that he ‘sounds exasperated’ for two reasons.

‘One, because I think we should be on this programme thanking my team. They worked so hard,’ he said before being interrupted by Mr Morgan who said he wouldn’t be thanking him for presiding over the highest death toll in Europe.

‘The second reason I am exasperated,’ Mr Hancock continued. ‘Is because as soon as I start answering a question you cut in and when I said “can I answer the question?” you said “no”. What’s the point in coming on if you are not going to allow me to answer the question?’

He added: ‘Yes there were individual problems, I know that, and that’s what the team were sorting.’

He was then accused of being ‘patronising’ by Mr Morgan as the pair continued to clash and speak over each other.

Mr Hancock is under fire after the High Court ruled he failed to publish details of coronavirus-related contracts within the required timeframe.

He has refused to apologise, instead saying that legal cases about transparency returns were ‘second order’ to saving lives.

Matt Hancock told Piers Morgan he was exasperated ‘for two reasons (Picture: ITV/REX)

Speaking during a less heated conversation on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier, Mr Hancock said it was difficult to deliver PPE ‘in the teeth of a pandemic’.

He said: ‘This has all been looked into in great detail. It’s only because of the transparency that I support that we can ask questions about these contracts.

‘The implication of your question about the specific one that you raised is that people should be barred from taking contracts if they know anybody involved – that would be ridiculous.

‘And what’s more, it’s easy to ask these questions, but what is hard is to deliver PPE in the teeth of a pandemic.

The Health Secretary has been under fire for breaking the law on publishing details of contracts (Picture: ITV/REX)

‘And that’s what my team did. And yes, there were individual challenges in access to PPE, but we never had a national shortage, because of my team.’

Mr Hancock has claimed that on average the paperwork was delayed by around a fortnight because his team were spending all their time trying to secure more PPE.

The Government has faced accusations of cronyism due to their awarding of multi-million pound contracts during the pandemic to firms with personal links to ministers.

Labour has so far officially not called on Mr Hancock to resign but the party’s former leader Jeremy Corbyn, currently sitting as an independent, raised in the issue in the House of Commons yesterday.

Medics faced shortage of PPE during some of the worst months of the pandemic (Picture: Getty)

He said: ‘I think answers are required from the Prime Minister (on) how £10.5bn of NHS contracts were awarded without tender, how a further 99% of all NHS contracts were awarded, again, without tender and that last week the court found that the Secretary of State for Health had not acted legally in the awarding of these contracts.

‘And so, I ask the Prime Minister to do two things: will he end this scandalous privatisation of our NHS which is happening before our very eyes?

‘And will he also replace the Health Secretary with somebody who will stand by and obey the law and publish in advance all contracts that are due to be led so that the public can see how their money is being spent?’

Boris Johnson replied: ‘We went as fast as we possibly could to get PPE and those who are now denouncing us for going too fast were those who were complaining back then that we weren’t going fast enough.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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